Did you know that most of history has been determined by personal relationships? Last week was Memorial Day and we as a Country are just a week away from commemorating the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. One of the biggest moves that actually brought World War II to a close was made solely on the basis of our Secretary of War’s special connection to a city in Japan.
What many Americans may not realize is that Hiroshima was not the first choice to receive the dropping of the Atom Bomb. Kyoto was originally the City chosen to experience the ultimate devastation. What changed the course of events? Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of War under President Franklin Roosevelt and then President Harry Truman, was the noted individual who actually saved Kyoto from the nuclear hellfire originally destined for them.
What was the reason that Stimson felt so strongly about rerouting the attack? It was in Kyoto, Japan some 20 plus years earlier that Stimson and his bride had honeymooned. Needless to say, he was enamored by Kyoto’s beauty and influenced by the memories that were made there. The glories of Kyoto in the autumn, her vivacious gardens, breathtaking temples and surrounding hills were just too much to imagine annihilated in the twinkling of an eye. What was just another spot on the map was too special a place in the heart of Henry Stimson and he petitioned President Truman to please reroute the nuclear blast. It was decided that Hiroshima would receive what Kyoto was being spared from. Unfortunately, no American of any influence had been to Hiroshima and so it would be the recipient of the historical attack that brought a speedy end to World War II.
The enemy of our souls wants nothing more than to drop a bomb of discouragement and death upon God's creation. There is no love lost between humanity and hell. Therefore, we are under a daily barrage of lies leading to temptation opening the door to sin and eventually separation from the Lord who loves us. If there isn’t a divine intervention that opens the door to supernatural redemption, there isn’t much hope for survival for any of us. But God so loved the world that He sent a Savior to rescue, redeem and restore us. To Jesus, we aren’t just another impersonal number who just blends in with everybody else. To God, we are someone special and He loves us in a way that nobody else would or could. Because of the Lord’s great fondness for us, we are not blown off the face of the earth!
In Jesus, we discover a life worth living. We learn them not via principles to be memorized, but only through a personal relationship with God! It is not knowing the catechism we dutifully memorize that saves our future. It is our entering willingly into a personal relationship with the Lord who made us and saved us. Would Jesus sacrifice His Body and shed His Blood for a people that He knew nothing about nor cared anything for? If your heart does not beat a relational rhythm with Jesus, then He is nothing more than a mark on an impersonal religious map! It’s not about a ceremonial religious declaration that brings eternal life and imminent peace and purpose, but a faith-driven relational dedication that brings us into the right connection that can never be severed.
Many individuals in Bible times sat and heard Jesus teach and they got free bread and ate holy fish and saw more than their fair share of miraculous events but unfortunately, never went much further beyond that. I would venture a guess that the majority only knew Jesus at the level they allowed Him into their world. They came to the events but didn’t stick around long enough to build a lasting friendship. Christianity is not so much about studying doctrine and discussing devotional dissertations as it is about being an active learning Disciple.
Belief is inert. Crowds who make up the weekly population at local churches can say the words and sing the songs but if they don’t behave what they claim to believe, it isn’t real. Faith produces action. Without faith, it is impossible to please God and if you ever really want to get on the Lord’s right side, you best not be doing it wrong! Faith is not a quick fix, a lucky charm, a magic potion or a cure-all! It is impossible to live in this world and escape trouble. Jesus doesn’t promise to eliminate the trouble! He promises to not allow the trouble to eliminate you!
Jesus never did what He did for crowd approval. He did what He did because He loved us in a way that we would always remember! Don’t just admit that you love Jesus! Commit your love to Jesus! Our eternal destination is not a place but a person! It’s not a what, but a who! Personal Faith in a Personal Lord brings a Personal Purpose. When this crazy world wants to drop a nuclear explosion with the goal of bombing our spirit into oblivion, we have a Savior who loved us enough to spare us. Actually, Jesus took the full brunt of the damage that was meant for us. His love was what saved our city both now and forever.
You never forget the ones you love. And if you love and are loved by Jesus, you can bank on the truth and promise that He never forgets you. As a matter of fact, if you honeymoon with Him today, you will always have a place to belong with Him throughout eternity. The Bridegroom is coming soon for His Bride. I wish we’d all be ready, but while I can’t decide for you, I can for me. Heaven is not a place, but a Person and what makes it Paradise is not the surroundings, but the Savior. You never forget the ones you love and while we sometimes get forgetful about Jesus, He never forgets us. And because of the love that He bestows upon us, we will be saved. We will be spared. We will shine both now and ten thousand years into the future. It really is all about who you know! Do you know Jesus?
(ED. NOTE: The author is the senior pastor of The Lighthouse Church, 1248 Route 9 South, Court House.)